I’m excited that today I have Christina Lowry back from her feature last week. Christina shared so many insights into her processes with having an out home business through our discussions that we just had look at a second post, to get the most out of it. So if you’re a mum or woman who has been considering venturing into having an at home creative business, these words here are for you.

Through our discussions I also asked Christina about her tips for mums wanting to start a business, about her inspiration and her strength and weaknesses, and this is what she shared with me:

Do you have some time management tips to inspire other mums wanting to take the plunge to develop an at home business?

The best advice that I can give is to be organised and find rhythms and routines that work for you! I’m a bit if a neat freak and can’t stand a messy house, so it’s important to me to stay on top of things. We also us clothing nappies and make as much of what we eat as we can, so I incorporate this into our routines, Since my son started school I have become even more organised in order to get all the necessary things done and leave as much time as possible for thing I want to do. Each evening I make dinner while my husband bath the children. At the same time I pack Cohen’s lunch box and make our breakfast (overnight oats, yum). I make sure his uniform is laid out and his bag is packed the night before, so we aren’t rushed in the morning. Both my little ones are early risers, which give me time the dishwasher, do the hand washing, vacuum and throw a load of clothes in the was each morning before taking Cohen to school. I tend to bake each Sunday afternoon, so Cohen has a homemade treat in his lunch box each day, and we avoid prepackaged food. In this way, I get all the chores out of the way early, so I have the most amount of time free to work at the bench.

In terms of managing my time at the bench, I always have more than one project on the go. Usually a big and small project. This way I can make the most of any little bits of time I have, and I am never sitting empty handed waiting for a piece to clean in the pickle. I save similar jobs to do all at once, like polishing. If I am going to polish and clean one piece, I may as well wait until I have several to do, as it save so much time and I only have to heat up the ultrasonic once. In the same way, I often in a bit of production line when building up stock, making several of them same items as I go. It save a lot of time and it’s so satisfying to have several finished pieces all at once. I also always make more than what I need for thing I use often. So if I need to make one jump ring or a pair of ear wires, I will make several of them, as it doesn’t take much longer and it save me that much more time next time. I do this when preparing metal too. When drawing down wire, I draw down more than I need, so I have it to use next time.

What are your inspirations when designing?

My latest collection, “The Sentimental Collection”, was inspired by the draws full of doilies I would carefully rummage through at my Grandmothers house as a child. While other collections are inspired by the materials I am working with, sketches from nature or visit to art galleries – one of my favourite things to do.

I go through rather set phases with inspiration and design. It took me a long time to learn the pattern of how I work and not be intimidated by it. Inspiration usually comes in big rushes to me, with lots of ideas  and then nothing for quite awhile. Sometimes I can’t sleep for all the ideas and images swimming around in my head, and the only thing for it is to keep a notebook and pen beside me at all times to jot down as much of it as I can. This can last weeks, and I am often forgetful and vague at these times, as my mind is elsewhere. Then, just as quickly, the rush vanishes and the real work begins of turning those idea in to things. Working also often inspires new ideas for me. When I start to get nervous that I will run out of idea it’s usually not long before I experience another rush. I’m not sure how it is for other people, but this is how it is for me!

What are your strengths, weaknesses or challenges in having and running an at home business?

I’m such a home body that working from home suits me perfectly. I have friends who couldn’t bear the thought and need to leave home for their work and their sanity. I love to potter at home, crafting, cleaning, baking. The challenge for me is to give myself time off. Between the children and the business there is always something I could be doing, and it’s easy to just keep going without stopping. But I know I also need to take time to do things just for me, like knitting whilst listening to a pod cast, or visiting an exhibition, or catching up with a friend. So I make sure I schedule those things in. I will even write “knit” on my to do list, and reward myself with some craft time after crossing a few things off the list!

I have overcome the challenge of working alone by having what I call “my craft brain trust”, a groups of talented, creative, small business owners in different fields who get together once a month for sort show and tell and support, encourage and share with each other. This has proven invaluable, as has the support and feedback I receive online from my blog, Instagram and Facebook page.

I love being able to work for myself, from home, with my children. By doing so I am able to be extremely flexible, share my days with the people I love most, design and make whatever I want, set my own deadlines, be in charge or all aspects of my business, while challenging myself constantly.

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